Eric Fischer, self described as a “geek of maps, data visualization, failed transportation plans of the past, history of technology, computers, pedestrianism, and misspelled street signs,”  takes photos of cities and makes maps and other visualizations with many sorts of urban data. 

This map is part of his project ‘A Geotaggers’ World Atlas’ in which he uses data from the public Flickr and Picasa search APIs to map where photos have been taken in different cities. “Some people interpreted [these maps] as… maps of tourism.” So, Fischer made the series “Locals and Tourists” to test this hypothesis.

 “Some cities (for example Las Vegas and Venice) do seem to be photographed almost entirely by tourists. Others seem to have many pictures taken in piaces that tourists don’t visit.” He reports.

Locals and Tourists shows which photos were taken by locals and which by tourists. “Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more) [and] red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).”

If we interpret taking a photograph and bothering to upload it to Flickr or Picasa as an act of assigning significance to the place the photo was taken then the maps take on new dimension. They depict the difference in the way locals and tourists assign significance to the same places within a city.

The comments on the map where it’s posted on Fischer’s Flikr are equalling telling:

“Love the little clusters of red on the various parks running down Broadway: Times Square, Herald Square (subsumed by the Empire State building, naturally), Madison Square, Union Square…”

“Love the difference between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. The locals love the MB, and unless you’re trying to leave Manhattan, they hate the BB.”

“Queens and Brooklyn at least made it to the map. Staten Island doesn’t exist to anyone.”

 “Locals and Tourists” maps for other cities as well as other maps and photos can be viewed at Eric Fischer’s Flickr.
Get in touch with the author @youngzokeziah.